I have read the most impressive, eloquent and well-deserved tributes to Peter Noyce following his untimely death and would wish to add to these with some pertinent history for clinical pharmacists of today. Peter made many contributions to pharmacy practice but many clinical pharmacists will not be aware of the debt their current role is owed to him.
In the late 1970s and in the 1980s, evidence-based medicine alongside clinical pharmacy in hospital practice was being developed and championed by a small number of pioneers. This was set against a backcloth of a recruitment crisis in this sector and a significant number of ‘old school’ medical consultants in some hospitals who felt some degree of threat to their clinical freedom. They saw the recruitment crisis as an opportunity to force pharmacists back into the dispensary and our role limited to medicines supply.
One of Peter’s early initiatives when he moved to work in the Department of Health (DH) was to set about drafting the health circular “HC(88)54 The Way Forward for Hospital Pharmacy Services”. This enshrined clinical pharmacy practice in DH policy, put ‘old school’ consultants (and some pharmacists!) on the back foot and provided the solid foundation for its further advancement by those early pioneers. Clinical pharmacy owes much to Peter’s careful navigation of this policy development through the DH and the crafting and subsequent promulgation of HC(88)54.
Peter was always visionary and I suspect he knew that the clinical role our profession could fulfil would strengthen its foundation for the future both in hospital and subsequently community pharmacy practice. Our profession owes many things to Peter but enshrining clinical pharmacy practice in DH policy is one of the most important in improving direct patient care and one to which clinical pharmacists of today should also be indebted.
Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203537
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